Limitation of Liability Hearings


Proceedings had and evidence taken, pursuant to notice, before Harold T. Basinger, Notary Public.

Proceeding called by the said Harold T. Basinger, at the Office of Arnold & Cooke, in the village of Cooperstown, Otsego County, New York, June 4, 1913, at 1 o’clock, P. M.

Proceeding adjourned to June 5, 1913, at the same place and hour.

Further adjourned to June 6, 1913, at 1 o’clock, P. M., at the Office of Arnold & Cooke, Cooperstown, N.Y., and further adjourned to the residence of Miss Grace Scott Bowen, in the village of Cooperstown, N.Y., June 6, 1913 at 1:30 o’clock, P. M.


George Whitefield Betts, Jr., for claimant Frederick (sic) Seward, et al.
Oscar R. Houston, for claimant Mary A. Holverson, et al.
Charles C. Burlingham, for the petitioner.

IT IS STIPULATED, that the depositions may be taken by Stenographer; signing and filing certification waived. Stenographer’s and Notary’s fees to be taxed as costs.

DEPOSITIONS of Emily Borie Ryerson and Grace Scott Bowen, taken pursuant to notice, before Harold T. Basinger, Notary Public, at Cooperstown, Otsego County, New York, June 6, 1913, at 1:30 o’clock, P. M., at the residence of Miss Grace Scott Bowen.

GRACE SCOTT BOWEN, being duly sworn, testified as follows:


Q. Miss Bowen you live, do you, in Cooperstown, New York?
- Yes.

Q. Otsego County is that?
- Yes.

Q. You are a friend of Mrs. Ryerson, are you, and were traveling with her on the Titanic?
- Yes.

Q. Did you board the ship at Cherbourg?
- Yes.

Q. What was the first thing you knew of the accident?
- I was awakened by the stillness; as soon as I was awake I realized that the boat was not moving.

Q. You got up then, did you, and dressed, and later went on deck?
- Pretty soon after I got up - ten or fifteen minutes.

Q. And you remained with Mrs. Ryerson during that night until you went in the small boat?
- Yes.

Q. Was your room near Mrs. Ryerson’s?
- Right next to it.

Q. Were you able to see out of the window when you got up?
- I didn’t look.

Q. When did you first look at the sea outside?
- Not until we got out on deck.

Q. Were you able to see any icebergs then?
- No.

Q. The weather was clear?
- Perfectly.

Q. It was cold?
- Very.

Q. Any wind then?
- No.

Q. You went down, did you, in the umber 4 boat, with Mrs. Ryerson?
- Yes.

Q. you went from the A deck, did you?
- Yes.

Q. Did you notice anything about the portholes as your boat went down, or after it got in the water?
- After we got in the water I noticed many were open.

Q. Did you notice any circular portholes open?
- Yes.

Q. Square ones, also?
- I think so.

Q. How many lines of portholes did you notice when your boat got into the water?
- Two.

Q. Were any of those submerged after you got in the boat?
- Gradually this one line disappeared.

Q. You saw the water going in?
- Yes.

Q. Were a few of them open, or many open?
- I should say a great many.

Q. Were you able to find out whether any companion ladder or gangway was lowered from the ship to the water?
- I didn’t see any.

Q. Did any one call you (sic) attention to any such ladder or gangway?
- No.

Q. Did you hear of any being lowered at all?
- No, I was in the other end of the boat from the man who was in command, and I didn’t hear anything.

Q. Did you spend most of your time after leaving Cherbourg below, in your room, or were you on deck?
- Most of the time below.

Q. Do you remember going up on deck Sunday afternoon?
- Yes.

Q. April 14th, about what time?
- The latter part of the afternoon, I should think.

Q. Was that before, or with Mrs. Ryerson?
- Mrs. Ryerson had gone up a short time before.

Q. What did you do when you got on deck?
- Sat in a steamer-chair, about four chairs away from Mrs. Ryerson.

Q. That was on B deck?
- On A deck.

Q. On which side?
- The left-hand side - the side we were accustomed to, near the companion-way.

Q. What did you observe with reference to Mr. Ismay and Mrs. Ryerson that afternoon?

Mr. Burlingham:
Objected to as irrelevant, immaterial and incompetent.

- I saw a man come up and speak to Mrs. Thayer and Mrs. Ryerson and sit down on the end of a steamer-chair and talk to them for some minutes; he had a white slip of paper in his hand, which he appeared to show to them.

Q. What was his appearance, Miss Bowen?

Mr. Burlingham:
It is admitted that the man who spoke to Mrs. Ryerson is Mr. Ismay.

Q. Did you afterwards have any conversation with Mrs. Ryerson when you went down below, that afternoon?
- Yes, directly after we went down.

Mr. Burlingham:
All this is taken subject to objection.

Q. When was that?
- Only a short time.

Q. Did Mrs. Ryerson speak to you about her conversation with Mr. Ismay?
- Yes. She said------

Mr. Burlingham:
Objected to.

Q. Now will you tell us what was said?

Mr. Burlingham:
I object on the same grounds, and many others.

- She said that Mr. Ismay had come and spoken to her, she didn’t know him very well, and objected to talking to people.

Q. Did she say anything about boilers?

Mr. Burlingham:
Objected to.

Q. (sic) I don’t wish to be understood as quoting exactly what she said, because a long time has passed; I paid more attention to the fact she was bored by him than the rest.

Q. Just give us the substance of what was said?

Mr. Burlingham:
Objected to.

- As I remember, she said he said we were among the icebergs; and some of us said that was why it was so cold; but I don’t mean, necessarily, he said so; and that the Deutchland (sic) had sent a message she was out of coal, and that we weren’t going to bother about that, because --- well, I can’t remember whether she said because they wanted to make this a record trip, or because they wanted to see how soon we could get in. I should say she said a record trip and didn’t want to be delayed. And she also said we hadn’t been going at our best speed, and they were expecting to start up three more boilers; she didn’t say Mr. Ismay said they were going to start up the boilers in order to go faster, that was the impression I ---

Mr. Burlingham:
I move to strike all this out, on the grounds previously stated, and as double hearsay.

Q. How was the weather that afternoon?
- Perfectly clear and very cold.

Q. Did it remain cold during that night?
- It grew constantly colder.

Q. Did you see anything of any ice or icebergs during the night, Miss Bowen?
- No.

Q. Did you see any during the morning, or as light came?
- As light came we saw many all around the northern horizon.

Q. Any field ice?
- Yes, especially after we got on the Carpathia, we saw vast fields of ice.

Q. Could you make any estimate as to how high these icebergs were?
- No, they were very high, but I have no possible way ---

Q. Several hundred feet should you say?
- I should say they were high on the horizon, but not very long, I should think so.


Q. Could you see the whole length of the line of portholes?
- Yes.

Q. You don’t mean to say all were open?
- No, only that many were open.

Q. You are quite sure it was the two upper lines of portholes?
- Yes, because one of the rows of portholes was quite close to the water, and there was one row lighted above it.

Q. You mean you saw only one row?
- Two rows.

Q. Those portholes under ordinary circumstances would be high above the water, would they?
- Yes.

Q. Would you think forty or fifty feet?
- I should think so, several decks up.

Q. You had these round portholes in your stateroom?
- No, we had square portholes - we were on B deck.

Q. Was there a promenade deck opposite of you, or were you outside?
- No, we were next the water, no deck outside our stateroom.

Q. In your room there was a square porthole - that was probably well forward?
- Yes.

Q. Do you now say they were round or square on the same deck with you further aft?
- I don’t remember.

Q. Do you agree with Mrs. Ryerson that everything was quite and no confusion when you came up on deck?
- Yes.

Q. And so far as the Ship’s company was concerned good discipline, no attempt to crowd into the boats?
- No, nothing of the kind.

Q. And a very rigid discipline in regards to the exclusion of men?
- Oh, yes.

Q. The weather, as you agree, was extraordinarily clear?
- Very; I have never seen such wonderful stars.

Q. And yet, during the night, you saw nothing of any ice?
- No.

Q. But when the dawn broke you found yourselves surrounded by icebergs, did you?
- Yes.

Q. And dozens of them?
- Oh, yes, easily, and very high, but all far away.

Q. Field ice far away?
- Yes, though I was more impressed by the icebergs than the field ice until after we got on the Carpathia.

Q. You have heard all the testimony given here to-day by Mrs. Ryerson?
- Yes.

Q. And you could agree with it, in all respects that were within your knowledge?
- I do.


Q. Will you tell us just what rows of portholes you saw open - as I understand it, your deck on which was your stateroom was B deck?
- Yes.

Q. That had square portholes?
- Yes.

Q. you saw some of those open?
- Yes.

Q. How many rows of those below that did you see?
- One.

Q. Were those round portholes?
- Yes.


Q. Did those extend the length of the ship?
- That was my impression, but I couldn’t so testify - it was a long, long row.

Q. That was the row that was just level with the water when your boat reached the water?
- Yes, when our boat reached it.

Grace Scott Bowen(sig.)